Matthew 21:23 – The chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things and who gave you this authority.”
Lord Jesus, you teach some hard things. You confront me in my life about the possessions in my life and how I am to use them. You confront me in my life about the purpose, direction, and purpose of what I’m doing. You confront me as you confronted the Jewish leaders when you overthrew their traditions and their temple practices. It led them to ask, “What gives you the right to overthrow our temple practices? What gives you the right to say and do them these things?” Lord Jesus, my heart pushes back against your confrontation. When your word calls me out about my life and my thinking, my heart pushes back because I want my way. I like my way. It’s the way I chose. And my heart even asks, “Who gives you this authority?” I don’t like it when you confront me like that in your Word. I don’t like it when you confront me like that in a sermon or in Bible study. I don’t like it when I am confronted by a good Christian friend or a good Christian book. It makes my heart bristle to consider what your Word is saying to me. But, Lord Jesus, I need this. I don’t want to be crushed by you. I don’t want to be thrown outside when the Master of the house returns. I don’t want to be hardened. Please, keep me from it. You have authority over my life and over the things in my life. You have authority over me. All authority truly belongs to me. Keep me from hardening my heart against you. Rather, soften my heart and humble me that I might hear your Word and humbly accept the teaching from you, even when it confronts me. Open my ears that I may continue to listen to you. Keep leading me to repentance day after day. Help me Lord and keep me from the hardness of the Jewish leaders here who questioned and rejected your authority. You are my Lord! You are my Savior! Work by your Spirit so that those sentences are always true for me. Amen.